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Full text of "A history of Persia"

136                  HISTORY OF PERSIA                 CHAP. .
shore, and gaze with wonder into the world that lies buried
beneath—a world of feeling and thought and action that
has passed away from earth's memory for ever, whilst its
palace^'and heroes are dimly seen mirrored below, as in
the enchanted lake of Arabian story." Happy is Firdausi
to have inspired such a splendid encomium !
The Siasat-Nama.—In Chapter LII. some account has
been given of the Nizam-ul-Mulk as statesman and
administrator, and it was mentioned that he was also the
author of the Siasat-Nama, or " Treatise on the Art of
Government." This great work comprises fifty chapters,
treating of royal duties, royal prerogatives, and adminis-
tration. It is written in simple language, and as it
embodies the views of the greatest of Persian administra-
tors, who adorns his narrative with numerous historical
anecdotes, it is one of the most valuable Persian prose
works in existence.
Nasir-i-Khusru>—Reference has also been made to
Nasir-i-Khusru, in the capacity of Ismaili propagandist
But he was poet and traveller as well. The record of his
adventures is contained in a work termed Safar-Nama, or
" Treatise of Travel," which gives in simple language the
details of his journey from Merv to Nishapur, Tabriz, and
across Asia Minor to Aleppo. He then performed the
pilgrimage to Mecca by way of Jerusalem, and finally
reached Cairo in A.H. 439 (1047). ^n Egypt he was
initiated into the esoteric doctrines of the Ismailis, and
was awarded the tide of Hujjat, or " Proof," in Khorasan.
He gives a most interesting account of the prosperity,
good order, and justice prevailing under the Fatimite
Caliphs in Egypt, whence after a stay of two or three
years he returned to Khorasan. On this journey he
followed a southern route, visiting Isfahan, Nain, Tabas,
Tun and Sarakhs ; of these, Tabas and Tun afterwards
became well-known Ismaili centres. Of his poetry, the
Diwan is famous, its main theme being a strong insistence
on the Ismaili view of allegorical interpretation. As so
many of the great men of the period hailed from Khorasan,
I have quoted a stanza from his poem addressed to them,
by way of heading to this chapter.